Hope College will commemorate international World Water Day with multiple events between Monday, March 18, and Tuesday, March 26.

The presentations will bracket and include the day itself, which is Friday, March 22.  The schedule includes two films, on March 18 and 26, and two seminars, on March 21 and 22.  The events are being sponsored by the college’s Global Water Research Institute and other campus partners.

The public is invited to all four of the events.  Admission is free.

The documentary film “The Erie Situation” will be screened on Monday, March 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre.  The 2022 film explores the confluence of science, public sentiment, politics and the powerful farming lobby as Ohio wrestles with how to confront the drivers of toxic algae in Lake Erie, which is the fourth-largest of the five lakes comprising the Great Lakes system and forms most of the state’s northern border.  The film’s producer, David Ruck, will participate in the evening and provide additional discussion about the film and related environmental issues.

Dr. Mariana Matus, who is co-founder and chief executive officer of Biobot Analytics, will present the keynote address “Wastewater Epidemiology: Fighting Pandemics with Poop” on Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.

On Friday, March 22, at 4 p.m., also in Winants Auditorium, Matus will discuss “My journey of spinning off my Ph.D. research into a startup” through the seminar series coordinated by the college’s Department of Chemistry.

Matus completed her Ph.D. in computational biology and systems biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018.  She co-founded Biobot Analytics in 2017 to apply her expertise in wastewater epidemiology to detect emerging trends that can be found in sewage through disease markers like viruses and other pathogens, chemical contaminants and drugs.

Hope established a wastewater testing program of its own in August 2020, during the global COVID-19 pandemic, to provide early notice of the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by monitoring nine residential zones across campus.  Hope’s program continues to monitor campus and the Holland communities, and has expanded to serve 10 counties in Southwest Michigan, funded by a grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  Data from this program are integrated with the CDC’s national dashboard, called the COVID Data Tracker.

The documentary film “Climate Sisu” will be screened on Tuesday, March 26, in the Schaap Auditorium of the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center. The event will start at 6:30 p.m. with a brief presentation by Dr. Elena Lioubimtseva, professor of geography and sustainable planning at Grand Valley State University and co-director of the documentary, followed by the film screening at 7 p.m. The film tells stories from an array of people across Northern Michigan involved in climate action, from scientists to farmers to urban planners, with the message that people can effect change even when the crisis seems overwhelming. The screening is hosted by the Office of Sustainability at Hope.

World Water Day, held on March 22 every year since 1993, is an annual United Nations observance focusing on the importance of freshwater.  The day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water.  A theme is set for World Water Day every year by UN-Water, the UN’s coordination mechanism on water and sanitation.  This year’s theme is “Leveraging Water for Peace.”

The Global Water Research Institute (GWRI) at Hope College enables water-centered research that seeks to transform health and well-being of local, regional and global communities.  The institute’s interdisciplinary collaborative student and faculty research provides improved understanding of water and equips communities to make data-driven decisions about their water use.  Launched on World Water Day in 2022, the institute is grounded in experience honed at Hope since the latter 1960s in conducting research on water quality and related issues.  GWRI involves faculty and students from the departments of biology, chemistry, geological and environmental science, mathematics and statistics, political science and religion, and works with the college’s Global Health Program.

To inquire about accessibility or if you need accommodations to fully participate in the event, please email accommodations@hope.edu.  Updates related to events are posted when available at hope.edu/calendar in the individual listings.

The Knickerbocker Theatre is located in downtown Holland at 86 E. Eighth St., between College and Columbia avenues.

Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.

The Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center is located at 115 E. 12th St., at the center of the Hope campus between College and Columbia avenues along the former 12th Street.  Schaap Auditorium is on the lower level near the building’s southwest corner.